Sometimes, I take for granted that I was born in America, that I can choose where I want to live, what I want to do and Who I want to worship. I don't go to bed at night fearing that someone will storm into my house, drag me and my family out of bed and kill us execution-style. If I lived in the Middle East and was a Christian, that would be a part of my reality. I'd not only fear for my life and that of my husband and children, but my home and possessions, my livelihood could be wiped out, and nobody would care. I would not get justice, probably ever.
In recent news, the pastor who is planning to burn the Koran has taken over internet headlines. Talk radio show hosts and news anchors are weighing in on the controversy. There are all kinds of reasons given why this is a bad idea from simple political correctness (mustn't ever offend anyone) to actual safety issues for our military, Americans and Christians in the Middle East.
I posted about this on a moms online board and was sort of surprised at the response I got - everything from "I can't believe you feel sorry for those people" to "we have the right as an American to do that" to "in the Old Testament the idols, etc. were torn down and burned - how is this different." For a moment, I felt like a flaming liberal or something! lol It's been bothering me though. I wondered if I had fallen into the trap of political correctness or maybe was sliding into the idea of appeasement - as in let's not make Islamic extremists angry so they won't do anything. And let's face it, if you look at what happened with Europe and Hitler, appeasement just doesn't cut it when it comes to international relations. And really with tomorrow being September 11th, was it really so wrong to thumb our noses at the people who took down the Twin Towers?
At first, I thought my main concern over this was the fact that once again, Christians would look petty and mean and hateful. That the media would show them as intolerant bigots. And I do think that what we claim to do in Christ's name should be carefully scrutinized. After all, have the nut jobs that have killed abortion doctors really helped the right to life cause?
But the more I thought about this and prayed about why it bothered me so much the more I realized that it came down to hate. Extremist Islamists are known for their hatred of those who are not, particularly Americans. However, if I take myself out of America and my reality for a minute and put myself into the shoes of a young woman born into a Muslim family who has been taught all her life the Koran, and has also been taught to hate and fear Christians how would I view this current event? I would see Christians as hating me back and all my fears would be justified.
Someone also posted that they wouldn't keep a Koran in their home, but would throw it out. Neither would I as I don't believe it is truth. But there is a world of difference between throwing something away and burning it. If I gathered together a bunch of people and had all of them bring, say, any Britney Spears albums, cds, etc. would you think I just didn't want that kind of music in my house or would you think I really, really did not like Britney Spears herself? I think you would probably conclued that I pretty much hated Britney Spears (I don't btw before I get hate mail about that - just an example!) When you take the most important book of a particular religion and burn it in such a public manner the message is NOT that you disagree with that religion. Rather it is that you hate that group of people. I don't want to put words in this pastor's mouth. They may not be his intent at all, but that is how it will be perceived.
And is hate really something Christians want to be known for? Now think back to that young Muslim woman. She may be unhappy in her current situation (not that she would have a lot of choice) She may even want something more than her current religion, but obviously the Christians hate her so maybe the Koran is right after all. Hate never drew anyone to Jesus. That's why Jesus calls us to love our enemies and bless those that curse us - because that is the totally opposite response of human nature.
So I guess that is the bottom line for me. I don't want to be known by hate. I don't want Muslims to think Christians hate them. Yes, I believe their religion is false and hate what it seems to inspire people to do in the name of it. That is why this Koran burning bothers me so much.
"Now therefore there is no condemnation in Christ."
~ Blessings, Bronte